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Colleges Automate Process of Responding to Copyright-Violation Notifications

Some colleges get hundreds of e-mail messages a month from music, movie, and book publishers notifying them that a student or professor is illegally sharing copyrighted material over the campus network. Colleges are required to look into each alleged violation, and some are setting up automated systems to make the process cheaper and easier.

Doing so is trickier than it sounds, since many colleges assign users a new Internet address each time they log in, rather than give each network computer a fixed identity. That means colleges have to do some detective work to see which user was at the computer at the day and time of an alleged copyright infringement.

Colleges hoping to automate the process have built their own systems, and many say it’s been easy. But today Audible Magic Corporation announced a product that it says is the first commercial system that can do the job. The system is called CopySense DMCA Service, referring to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which governs what network administrators must do to police copyright violations on their networks.

“At least two [colleges] have committed to testing the system and expressed a high degree of interest,” said Vance Ikezoye, founder and CEO of Audible Magic, in an interview on Tuesday.

Some music, movie, and book publishers have already automated their end of the notification process, setting up systems that scan the Internet looking for anyone trading their works and zapping out messages to network administrators. That makes it easy for the companies to send out thousands of notices each month. As a result, more colleges are likely to enlist software robots, whether home-built or commercial, to respond.

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